Jeremy Malcolm Jeremy at Malcolm.id.au
Sun May 4 02:56:51 UTC 2014

On 28 Apr 2014, at 7:16 pm, John Curran <jcurran at istaff.org> wrote:

>   One of the values of the current IGF format is its wide breadth and therefore
>   combining of many different communities (who often find common interests
>   and viewpoints with one another once together)
>   Are you proposing that IGF's should move to being focused on a few topics, 
>   or that the present meeting format be split (some of the time on the "many 
>   topics/many sessions" approach and some for MS outcome document
>   development), or something else?
>   (I am just trying to understand what change to format you would suggest...)

Sorry for the very delayed reply, I'm away with only intermittent access.  Take a look, for example, at the submission that the Internet Governance Caucus made in 2012 here: http://igcaucus.org/written-contribution-igf-themes-and-foirmat-and-way-forward, which is consistent with your view that a broad and inclusive format should be maintained, but whilst also narrowing its focus from year to year on particular "hot" issues, so that tangible progress can be made on those:

> main sessions should not be treated as just “big workshops” relevant only to those with topical interests, but should be for the broadest possible segment of the IGF community to attend. Consequently, the programme should be restructured so that main sessions and workshops are not happening at the same time. Maybe the IGF could be extended to five says?
> The specific choice of main session topics should vary year by year to address truly “hot topics” that are on the tips of tongues everywhere. There should not be ‘reruns’ of sessions held at previous IGFs and new voices should be prioritised over those who have been heard from many times. ...
> Some of us suggest that it would be good to have one main session with a completely different outcome-oriented format that is more actively facilitated, for example a “speed dialogue” or a “moderated debate”. Amongst the most important foundations for this sort of format is that the participants need to be empowered (ie. they will produce something at the end), and that the power imbalances between them are eliminated for the duration of the exercise (through the way in which the process is facilitated).
> Emerging issues sets the stage for the problems that need to be faced by Internet governance in the coming year. This session should point the way to the work that needs to be done, so that the IGF stakeholders can come out of the meeting with an understanding of the work to be done in the coming year.

It goes on to be more specific:

> Sessions in mixed formats over 1 day, e.g. Morning expert panel session 2 hours. Follow by a long break where people encouraged to join self-organizing small groups (there probably needs to be active facilitation of the process to encourage small groups to form with a good mix of stakeholder categories) to discuss a few set questions and ideas from the morning panel. Afternoon, 2 hour moderated session with audience only, no panel/experts etc.  Bring back comments from the small groups.

With NETmundial it seems that everything old is new again, but proposals along these lines, for outcome-focussed IGF sessions on specific topics, have been made for many years.  Check out for example my submission on "speed dialogues" from 2007 which is at http://www.intgovforum.org/includes/Submission%20to%20September%202007%20consultation.pdf.

Jeremy Malcolm PhD LLB (Hons) B Com
Internet lawyer, ICT policy advocate, geek
host -t NAPTR|awk -F! '{print $3}'

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